A Positive Year – Week Five

Beginning of February – and the sun is starting to show some warmth!!   VERY positive!

Because I have to wear shoes at work – I have made my own in the past.  Unfortunately, by giving up on rigid soles, heels, arch support, you also give up on the durability of the shoes.  But, there is a positive side!  I get to make a new and better pair of shoes!  (Fancier too, this time.)

The week ended on a hugely positive note!

What could be more fun than hanging out with sixty other guys, playing challenging and fun games, listening to a good speaker and enjoying some good food. I also got to see the three masterful champions receive their trophies!


A Photo Review of 2015 – December

So in December this happened:  The city is redoing Nicolette – the whole street will remain car-free and get beautiful tree lanes and walkways and places to sit and be enjoyed.

To do that, they are tearing it up numerous times and doing all sorts of ruff stuff.  So a world known statue of Mary Tyler Moore was taken off the mall and put in storage.  We even had people coming into the store and ask us where the statue was.  So someone got the good idea to take her out of storage and place her in our store.

So we had to almost completely strip the store for the seven hundred pound lady to move in and her ton and a half base to be placed under her.

After hours of careful dancing, she arrived at her home for the next two years or so.  Then she will go and brave the elements again.

And there she is.  Ready for people to borrow our selfie stick and get pictures of her.  And you will have a tough time convincing me that this is not the most photographed statue in the world!

Some sunrises just compel you to take out the camera.

Working downtown makes for a few weird surreal scenes.

Like on this one early Saturday morning. NOBODY on the streets at all, except …..  these protesters for green energy, who started a march in front of an energy company building where there was nobody at work to see them.  One was blaring on a bullhorn and they were chanting; and THERE WAS ZERO AUDIENCE TO SEE OR HEAR THEM!!!!   Just me peering through the window of the store before opening time, wondering if I had awakened in a type of Alice-In-Wonderland alternative reality…..

The day after Christmas (we did not have a white one) saw the second snowfall of the winter and the start of more permanent temperatures under freezing.

I am not sad that the year is over.  But it is always important to focus on the positive things in our lives.

Two dogs always fight in your life – a white and a black one.  The one you feed most, will win.  Have FUN!!!!

A Photo Review of 2015 – November

The night closes in!!  After work one afternoon  I walked to where Gina was attending a course on the other end of Nicolette to get a ride back home with her.  I was able to get this photo out of the parking ramp …. Days get really short and the sun even more precious.

Some fun on a quiet afternoon in the store – the director brought in a selfie stick for customers to use (the big purpose for this came in December!).

Well, those selfie stick might be looked down upon by many, but I dare you to try to use one!  Not easy at all – especially at my age…..

The month ended with the first snow for the winter – and not much snow at all.  It was gone in a few days because of the many days after that with temperatures above freezing.

A Photo Review of 2015 – September

The state fair ran into September and most days were VERY hot.  One of my sons had given me this cloth/towel thingy that you get wet and then hang around your neck and it REALLY works!

For people not from Minnesota – the T-shirt has the outline of the state of Minnesota and therefor spells out “Minnesotan”, which I can claim to be after 18 years here, I think.

The Renaissance Festival was in full swing and according to this photo, Wilhelm took his role as Viking very seriously.  But he also has a blast out there!

The Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church had an arts day and I was asked to bring my leatherwork out there.  It was a good day.

I am still of the opinion that if I belonged to a primitive culture, I probably would have worshiped the son (I’m actually better off now worshiping the Son).

September also meant the end of a little more than a year of driving schoolbus – if only hours were more and throughout the year, I would return to it any day.

A Photo Review of 2015 – May

By May the weather was nice enough to join the Dalldorfs in burning their old Christmas tree from 2014.  Few things feel as nice as the green grass after a cold winter.

We did a long nine month course at church and it was a huge privilege to have Jacques there too.  Here he is talking to the group.

With the improved weather, the barefoot hiking group started the monthly hikes again!

Towards the end of the school year I had to take the high school band to a parade – only the second time I had to tow a trailer with a school bus.  All good.

I accompanied Wilhelm to Kansas City, where we had a booth at the fantasy art convention, Spectrum.  I had a lot of fun talking to people and demonstrating how leatherwork is done.

Wilhelm finally became a US citizen.  He was too old to become a citizen with me or Gina and had to do the deed on his own.

I found myself more and more taking photos of Chippie – it was very clear that his time was limited on this earth.

A Photo Review of 2015 – April

On the 11th we went to the local special Sunshine Restaurant for breakfast with the boys!  For no reason. Just fun.

The two old guys in the household.  Top is Tuffie, born in 1999 and bottom is Chippie, born 1998.  We were basically providing hospice care for Chippie.

Not many fuculties remained intact for old Chippie, but I suspected he still had a very keen sense of smell.  And somehow they just always know when they are close to you.

I made biltong and it came out good.  I have not done that for so long that I am not sure where my biltong cutter is, but a sharp pocket knife is actually just as good!

A Photo Review of 2015 – February

On the first of February Wilhelm came home with the first car he bought for himself – flashy red!

My leatherwork continues and I made this guitar strap for a singer in Mankato.

I continued to drive school bus – this was the half size special ed bus I was responsible for.  Schoolbus drivers are thankful for  every early morning without snow on the buses.  Cold did not bug me – this one was small enough to warm up really fast and was very comfortable to drive!

At the end of February the four of us went out to eat a dinner for Jacques’ birthday – I am still sporting that beard and the young man is doing his best to keep up with me!

Having a birthday does not mean you must stop having fun.  I just hope I can continue getting older and being like Jacques.

A Photo Review of 2015 – January

The year started off on the first much like 2016 is kicking off – little snow on the ground and just about “warm enough” for a barefoot photo op outside.

2015 was my fifth year going without shoes as much as I possible can.  I look back on this time with a lot of joy.  If only the weather shared my passion for a barefoot lifestyle!

When I am at home and busy in my leather workshop, the two dogs are never very far away – especially when I do work like braiding that does not involve loud noises.  As soon as I start tooling, the banging noise startles the two old guys because of how deaf they are getting.

In their old age there are things the dogs loose and then there are things they do not loose.   They sometimes loose bladder control, hence the old towel lying ready in a strategic spot.  They do not loose the urge to be VERY close to you when you are on the throne in the bathroom.   Here Tuffie lies outside the door waiting for Gina.

As usual we try to make sure that we have a games evening with the Kuhn’s and Sampson’s every month in winter and January was no exception.

I went to see the Aztec Dancers, Kalpulli KetzalCoatlicue, dance in honour of St Paul, the apostle, in Minneapolis.  I could not resist taking this picture of this little drummer who stood through the whole hour and a half, drumming away in perfect rhythm!

A beard is all well and good, but too much trouble, and I think like clothing, you have to have a particular body/face to make it look good.

Getting ready for a big project.

A Facebook friend of mine, Marc Carlson, have been posting one photograph per day and he is planning to do a full 365 days of photos. This inspired me to do the same, so now I am doing the homework to see what vehicle to use for this.
I want it to be a glimpse of our surroundings for our family and friends in South Africa and also a nice record for us to look back on.

This will also be a mini tribute to Marc : he was the very first person I identified on the web and whose writings of the Internet I enjoyed. This was when the Internet was only text based and mostly used for sharing University documents. The document I found, put out there by Marc, dealt with the heat hardening of leather. I have that same document not quoted in my leather instruction blog.

I have to decide on where the graphics should be stored for this blog, how to group them and how to present them. Hopefully I will be ready in January first to kick off this fun project.

To help test, I took this picture this morning on the train going on to work.


2014 Fourth of July Potjie Day

Every year on the fourth of July friends host this day of potjie kos (Dutch Oven food) cooking and getting together around the cooking area and the swimming pool.  2014 was no exception.  It was nice and cool this year.

Early on the cooks start looking busy around their pots – the heat has got to be right, the recipes are either on paper or well memorized.

I don’t faff too much with the pot after everything has been packed into it.   In stead I had some fun with my phone camera that has some snazzy effects:

The pool was popular while the sun was out and little Juicy dog could not  get enough of the water.

Ethan also enjoyed the swimming pool a lot – I heard him as dad a few times to go swim….

At one stage everybody was eating and poor Juicy was left all on her own.   I could not resist this photo of her sitting forlornly in the water on the pool steps waiting for someone to come and have fun with her.

When Mark announces “time to eat”, the lids come off and everybody gets introduced to the type of pots that are available to eat from.

The virgin pots also have to be photographed quite extensively …..

Desserts are a whole different story – home made ice cream from an American and the rest all traditional South African treats!

Much discussion takes place – sometimes people only see each other once a year at the 4th of July.

As the evening creeps nearer, the pots have to make way for a bonfire, and more good conversation.

My photographs are out of sequence to keep you on your toes…..

This is not a second session – it is from earlier in the morning.








And now we wait for next year to do it all over again!